October 23, 2018

Victorian Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, today officially inaugurated Victoria’s first utility-scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) at the AusNet Services Ballarat Terminal Station in Warrenheip, Ballarat. 

The 30-megawatt (MW) 30 megawatt-hour (MWh) BESS — currently being commissioned by the world-class consortium comprising Downer Spotless, AusNet Services, EnergyAustralia and Fluence, and funded by the Victorian Government and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on behalf of the Australian Government — has entered the final phases of testing in preparation for it to begin relieving pressure on the regional grid, ahead of the approaching summer.

Downer Spotless completed construction of the Ballarat BESS, supplied by Fluence, a Siemens affiliate, in October. The project is owned by AusNet Services and will be operated by EnergyAustralia to provide Victorians with more flexible, reliable and efficient energy, and support the supply of variable forms of renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

The goal of the Ballarat project is to add flexibility to the regional grid. The system is capable of powering more than 20,000 homes for an hour of critical peak demand before being recharged, and is able to respond to changing grid needs within milliseconds. It will operate 24/7 to support critical peak demand, improving grid stability of the state’s energy supply.

“With the growth of renewable energy solutions entering the market, battery storage will play an increasingly pivotal role in providing reliable power in Australia,” said Sergio Cinerari, CEO Infrastructure Services, Downer Spotless. 

“It’s an exciting day for us to see this project construction being completed. This project is a critical demonstration of integrating existing and new renewable energy technologies, which will significantly contribute towards our transition to more flexible, affordable and sustainable energy solutions.”

“The successful energisation of this battery marks a real watershed moment in the continuing modernisation of Victoria’s energy supply. Integrating this leading technology into our Ballarat Terminal Station means it is well placed to enhance the stability of the state’s energy supply, especially during the coming summer peak demand periods,” said Nino Ficca, Managing Director of AusNet Services.

EnergyAustralia Managing Director, Catherine Tanna, said the project was a great example of the technologies that are underpinning development of a new, modern energy system in Australia.

“We have a challenge over the next decade managing the reliability of the energy network as coal plants progressively retire,” Ms Tanna said. 

“Renewable energy is an obvious contributor to filling the gap but it has to be available when it’s needed, even at times when it’s cloudy and windless. That’s where utility-scale batteries come into their own by storing wind and solar energy for quick release, keeping the lights on and costs down.”

“Fluence is proud to join this leading group of partners in bringing our proven and award-winning energy storage technology to Australia,” said Fluence CEO, Stephen Coughlin. 

“The Ballarat project will add valuable reliability, flexibility, and resilience to the electric grid in Victoria and we expect it will be the first of many such projects in the coming years, both in the state and across Australia.”